Now, the autumn garden beckons. My summer perennials are fading fast and the sugar maples are sporting a few colorful leaves. The nights are cooler now, we had 36 degrees this morning in my zone 4 country garden. The third gardening season, the season of autumn, is at hand.
The autumn gardening season is not of long duration. If I can get 6 weeks in my zone 4 garden, I consider it a success. Those of you in zone 5 should be able to get into November. Be realistic about how much time you will have to give to your autumn garden because gardening time is now at a premium. Darkness comes early and fall afternoons are short.
I love those fall magazines and I always want to do it all, towers of
The fall garden . . .
pumpkins or banks of mums in those luscious fall colors. Hearing the voice of reason we realize the garden of autumn will not be as extensive as our summer garden but it certainly will give us pleasure and a sense of satisfaction. As the crisp cool mornings give way to warm and mellow afternoons we feel the need to plant a garden to celebrate our beautiful autumn season.
Always consider the setting of the garden. A formal home or formal front entry needs a formal arrangement. Pots of mums, containers of autumn flowers, colorful leaves and one perfect pumpkin may be all that is necessary. The back door or entry used by children and grandchildren is a good place for the scarecrow, quirky containers and bales of straw.
Keep in mind upcoming outdoor activities. Will there be a child's birthday to celebrate, will out of town guests be coming to see the leaves or have you planned an autumn wedding? While bales of hay and pumpkins are low maintenance, Mums need daily watering and fertilizing.
Our garden centers are well stocked now with mums and other fall plants. Considering the shortness of the season it is a good idea to buy ready to bloom plants. The pink geraniums in my summer porch boxes are looking healthy and are blooming their hearts out but the other annuals are gone for the season. With the addition of purple mums between the geraniums the porch boxes are ready for company. The impatiens in my tea pot container are long gone but little ivies will withstand light frosts and my tea pot can remain a centerpiece container for many weeks. Often our ivy, spikes and other hearty foliage have many weeks of life in them. Add new annuals like pansies and watch your garden perk up.
Keep the summer garden tidy as it prepares for its winter's sleep. Remove the flowers and refresh the borders with a layer of mulch. The dark mulch ties the garden together and creates a well groomed appearance. Be sure you keep ahead of leaf removal. With the cooler fall weather our lawns green up and start growing. We have a mulching blade on our lawn mower that chops the leaves into fine mulch that disappears into the grass. I love to see the contrast of the green lawns and the autumn leaves and flowers.
Autumn is an exciting time of year. School starts and everyone picks up the routine of the new year. Celebrate the season with the beautiful autumn garden tailored to fit your needs and your family's lifestyle.